An admitted killer received what could be a life sentence Tuesday for a 2008 slaying that netted him a share of $7.25.
Terry Conner, 53, expects that he will not survive to see the end of the 31-year prison sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque. He kept his back to his victim’s grieving family members gathered in the courtroom, avoiding eye contact with them even as guards led him away in shackles.
The judge, meanwhile, urged the fractured family of the victim, 50-year-old Timothy Eby, to live by the dead man’s words.
“You all referenced a man who had a tremendous belief in what can be. He never gave that up. That is a tremendous legacy,” Leveque said. “I believe he would rest more comfortably knowing … you follow his belief – that no matter what mistakes you make that you never give up and you never stop going forward.”
Conner pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and second-degree burglary in connection with an incident on Dec. 8, 2008, at Eby’s home at 2614 E. Third Ave. Apparently believing Eby was a drug dealer, Conner and Aaron Lyon – who was 28 at the time – went to Eby’s home and stabbed him to death for the money in his pocket.
According to the Spokane Police Department, Conner stabbed Eby 15 times while repeating, “All this for just $7.25.” Lyon has also pleaded guilty, although attorneys currently have a disagreement about the recommended sentence. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Mark Cipolla said Lyon is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8.
Members of Eby’s family read statements explaining what he meant to them.
Eby’s daughter Tanya Pomrenke had her letter read to Leveque by a victim advocate.
“The glue that held us together as a family is gone,” Pomrenke wrote. “My dad was not a perfect man. … He was a man that believed in making mistakes, and learning from them.”
She wrote about how Eby won’t be able to give his other daughter away at marriage or even see her graduate from high school.
“This loss is something we will feel for the rest of our lives,” she wrote. “He won’t be here when we need him and he will never get to see how his life touched so many people.”
After the sentencing, Assistant Public Defender Ed Carroll, who represented Conner, echoed the words of Leveque as he spoke to Eby’s family.
“Don’t let your family get torn apart by this,” Carroll said. “Live this man’s legacy.”